Duluth Business Sells Spruce Tops As Small and Sustainable Christmas Trees

DULUTH, Minn. — A new company in Duluth that sells small, sustainable Christmas trees created from black spruce tops is taking off this holiday season.

It’s called “Little C Tree,” created by Duluth residents Benjy Christensen, Nola Wilson, and Wilson’s brother.

These trees can fit into smaller spaces, such as apartments, and can even be mailed to loved ones you may not be able to see during the pandemic.

“Original thought process was, make something small that could be shipped and send a little piece of Christmas to maybe your kids in college or your grandparents that you can’t go and visit,” Christensen explained.

The black spruce tops are harvested without needing to cut down entire trees.

The team heads out into bogs around Minnesota and cuts the tops off of black spruces while leaving the rest of each tree alone.

A new spruce top regenerates on each tree in about five to seven years.

“They allow us to take a little bit of their beauty and bring it back for everyone, but they continue to be beautiful in their own environment as well,” Wilson said.

The pots are made from birch trees they’ve cut down from areas that are overpopulated with them, which allows the other trees to grow stronger with less competition for sunlight and nutrients in the soil.

Then, what’s harvested from the outdoors goes down into the basement workshop.

“Basically we try to do an assembly line, we’ll cut these birch just with a chainsaw in our backyard, and then we go into our basement and drill a hole, one larger hole, and then a smaller hole and just fit the tree into it and then the larger hole we put moss in and that’s our way to water the tree,” Christensen explained.

The final products range in size from about two to four feet, and they’ve been a hit with local businesses.

The Whole Foods Co-op locations are selling them, while restaurants such as OMC Smokehouse have bought them to decorate with.

“We’re constantly working and it’s been a lot of effort,” Christensen said. “It’s been super rewarding, and to drive by, Whole Foods is just down the street and to drive by and see them outside and see that people like them.”

This is the first year of The Little C Tree business for this Duluth couple, who moved to the Twin Ports from Utah in 2019.

“It’s been a lot of really intense work,” Wilson laughed.

After finding success with the Little C Tree, Christensen and Wilson hope to continue their business for holiday seasons to come, along with envisioning new projects, too.

“We have some goals of…expanding and not just having little trees, but also making sustainable furniture and so I imagine we’ll be doing it for a while, and we really like Duluth,” Wilson said.

The co-founders of the Little C Tree company have been selling their products at the Dovetail Cafe in Duluth as well, and for the past two weeks they have donated a portion of their sales to local restaurant employees who are out of work during Minnesota’s latest COVID-19 shutdown.

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